YMCA of Central Ohio

Childcare at the Y: Your Ultimate Guide

The Boy Scouts know what they’re talking about: it never hurts to consider all the possibilities so you can stay prepared to tackle whatever the future throws at you.

Right now, the days are long and sunny, but the school year is on the horizon, which means it’s time to think about what kind of childcare and education will be best for your family in the upcoming months. The Y is the largest provider of childcare in central Ohio, which means we have programs available for all kinds of family situations.

You may already know that we offer childcare for our members while they work out, but did you know that we also offer preschool, early learning centers, support for children with disabilities, and even more? With so many demands on today's families, parents like you need all the support they can get.

This school year, channel your inner Boy Scout and be prepared. Read on to learn more about the depth and breadth of our programs and discover what’s right for you and your child!


Do you need short-term childcare while you’re working out or socializing at the Y?

To help make your busy life a little easier, we have Child Watch and Kids Time are available for parents who would like to bring their children to the YMCA while using the facility!

Child Watch:
6 weeks-5 months, 1 1/2 hr per day
6 months-6 years, 2 1/2 hours per day

Kids Time: 6-12 years old

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Do you need full-day infant-through-preschool age child care?

We have three Early Learning Centers in Columbus: KIPP, Hilltop, and our YMCA Early Learning Centers.

Our centers are licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our staff are well-trained in early childhood education and follow age-appropriate lesson plans designed to stimulate children’s minds, provide a warm, caring, and safe environment, and ensure a fun and creative experience.

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Do you fit the following criteria?

Have a child who is age 3, 4 or 5 and who is not yet eligible for kindergarten?
Live in one of the following zip codes: 43119, 43123, 43140, 43146, 43207, 43228, 43147, or 43217?

If so, here’s why Head Start is a great choice for your child:

Learning Experiences: Starting early and right with quality learning experiences through Head Start can help your child succeed now and throughout life.
Skilled Teachers: Our teachers understand early childhood development and are committed to helping each preschool child prepare for a successful kindergarten experience.
Affordability: If your family meets our income qualifications, there is no cost for Head Start.
Accessibility: We provide Head Start services to children who have disabilities. Additionally, foster children and children affected by homelessness are automatically eligible for our services.

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Is your child ready for their first big preschool adventure?

Luckily, the YMCA of Central Ohio offers State Licensed Preschool programs at 5 of our branches.

Our programs follow the State of Ohio Standards in Early Childhood Education through an enriching curriculum that focuses on kindergarten readiness, literacy and math enrichment, science, social studies, social and emotional development, health, fitness and diversity. Some locations even offer swim time!

The YMCA Preschool is a great way for your little one to interact with other children and gain the social skills they will need as they grow and mature.

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Is your child already in school? Does he or she need a safe, nurturing environment during the hours before or after class?

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers State Licensed Before and/or After School Care at over 50 locations throughout Central Ohio, allowing children to supplement their education with programming that helps them learn, grow and develop social skills.

Our programs allow for activity choice, but they also provide an educationally based curriculum which in includes homework assistance and KidzLit, an after school literacy program. The Y-Club curriculum is designed around these eight core services:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Character Development
  • Health
  • Wellness & Fitness
  • Homework Support
  • Literacy
  • Science & Technology
  • Service Learning & Social Competence
  • Conflict Resolution

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Does your child have special needs?

The Y is here to support you. ECRN+ has more than 30 years of experience working with children who have special needs (developmental delays, disabilities and special health care needs) and their families.

This program provides ongoing family service coordination for eligible children (birth to 5 years old) and their families, as well as providing services and resources for children, teens and young adults, such as training for educators, childcare workers, parents, professionals and preschool staff members, an equipment exchange program, and tools for families to make informed decisions.

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At the Y, we are committed to nurturing the potential in every child, and the above programs are just a few of the ways we do so. Child care at the Y is about more than looking after kids. It's about nurturing their development, providing a safe place to learn foundational skills, developing healthy, trusting relationships and building self-reliance through the Y core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.